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admission, or to detain and keep within, or to Hop the passage and exclude from a place; neceflarily all or some of these actions (or somewhat answerable and like thereto) must agree to this power, in respect to that state or place which it refers to: it must be therefore a power either admissive into, or retentive within, or exclusive from, or all these together, in respect to the kingdom of heaven, whereof it is called the Keys; no other reason being conceivable of its obtaining that appellation; and we fee, when this metaphor is used in like cases, either all or one of these effects are by way of interpretation expressed; as when of the holy and true one (that is, of our Saviour) it is iaid in the Revelation, That he hath the key of David ;Rev. iii. 7. it is subjoined, He openeth, and nonejhntteth; hefhutleth, and none openeth. And when our Saviour imputes to the lawyers, that they took away the key of knowledge, he explains the meaning of his expression by adding, that they i.ukexi.52. would not enter themselves, and those who were entering they hindered: and likewise in St. Matthew, concerning the Scribes and Pharisees; Yejhut the kingdom of heaven Matt, xxili. (the seme thing as here) before men; for yourselves do not enter, nor do you suffer those that are entering. Whence, it seems, may be collected, that this power (this having the keys) is a power of admission into, and exclusion from, the place or state which it relates to: which we must next consider; fpr such must this power be, as its term or object doth admit or require.

a. As to the term it relates to, the kingdom of heaven, that, according to the New Testament use, is capable especially of two acceptions. It first commonly signifies the state or constitution of religion under the Gospel, in opposition or contradistinction to the state of things under the . ancient Law. In the time of the Law, God's kingdom ■ was in a mauner earthlyj the land of Israel was his dominion, in Salem was his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Zion; Jerusalem was his royal seat, (the city of the Ps. cur.s great King,) the temple there his palace; he governedlxxv'- a* more immediately by oracles from time to time put into the mouth of his priests and prophets, consulting him for

orders and directions; he received more visible service? and homages from his subjects; he granted earthly conveniences and privileges for them; he encouraged them to the obedience of his law by promises of temporal reward; deterred them from disobedience and disloyalty by threatening temporal pains and damages: but under the evangelical dispensation, as God's kingdom is more capacious and unlimited in extension, so he hath assumed no peculiar residence upon earth, nor is worshipped otherwise than as being in heaven, the natural feat of his special majesty and glory; he rules by a law perpetual and immutable, revealed from thence; the sacrifices and adorations he requires are spiritual and invisible for the most part, and addressed thither; the privileges appertaining to the subjects of this kingdom chiefly refer thither; they are allured to obedience by rewards to be conferred there; are withdrawn from disobedience by penalties referring to a future state. This state therefore of things is called the 'h i;xipi»i kingdom of heaven, of God, of Christ: that which was Sj^wftTcom'ng and approaching in the time of our Saviour's humble sojourning upon earth, is now present, he reigning in heaven, into which they are said to be translated; Cot i. 13, t0 have access unto the heavenly Jerusalem; to be made Eph.ii. 19.fellow-citizens and coheirs with the faints in light; to Phil.iii.30.have their conversation in heaven; to partake a heavenly Heb. iii. i. calling; to be sealed together with Christ in heavenly x"- aa- places; who with sincere persuasion of mind embrace the doctrine of Christ, with firm resolution submit to his law, becoming thereby subjects of this heavenly kingdom, undertaking the obligations, and partaking the privileges belonging thereto. This state, I fay, or relation, is thu* called; or (which comes to the fame thing, and makes no alteration as to the matter in hand) taking the word personally, (and concretely as it were,) the society of men put into such a state, the body of persons standing so related, (that is, the Church of Christ,) may be called the kingdom of heaven. This acception is so frequent and obvious, that it is needless to cite instances, or stand upon the confirmation thereof: but the phrase is also sometime taken for the perfection or utmost improvement of this state; that al<&vioy /Sao-iXs/a, everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour 2 Pet. i. 11, Jesus Christ, as St. Peter calls it; that state of glory and bliss, into which all good Christians, who (hall through this temporal life persist in faithful obedience unto God, shall hereafter be received; that kingdom, into which not Matt. vn. every one who faith, Lord, Lord, (who makes an externala1profession or pretence,) but lie that doeth the will of God, who is in heaven, shall enter. Now whereas these two states (one being a state of grace and favour with GodAastx.a*. here, the other of glory and joy with God hereafter) are in their nature, and according to their prime intention, inseparably coherent, one being subordinate to the other j that, as a step or degree, a way or tendency to this; this, a completion and consummation of that; that being supposed as precedent in order to this, this in design consequent upon that; therefore what immediately concerns one, doth by consequence respect the other: and in our case, a power to open or shut, to admit into or exclude from, the state of grace, may be supposed and said in a manner consequently to be a power of opening and shutting the state of glory hereafter; and reciprocally, both jointly may be well understood in their kind and order. But since the persons to whom this power is imparted do exercise it here, (and what thou shalt bind or loose upoh Matt. xii. earth, faith our Saviour, implying the use of that power19' which he promised to communicate to St. Peter;) since the immediate effects thereof are here below, therefore it seems fit that we understand the kingdom of heaven in our cafe more directly and immediately the present kingdom of heaven, or state of grace into which Christians are here received, (or, if you please, the society itself of persons so instated;) though more remotely, and by consequence, it may imply the state of glory hereafter.

We should therefore consider how these states (especially that of grace here more immediately respected) may be opened or (hut; how one man may be enabled or empowered to permit entrance, or debar others from it: and this we may conceive effectible either by yielding some

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real furtherance on one fide, or some effectual hindrance on the other, in respect os getting into or abiding in this state; or else by some formal act of judgment and authority, by virtue of which some are admitted to partake the rights and privileges of this state, or some excluded and rendered incapable thereof. 1 say, first, by real furtherance or hindrance; as on the one fide, they who instruct or shew the way, who persuade, who encourage men to enter, who afford any means or opportunities, may be said Aas xiv. to open this state; (as in like manner it is said that God did open to the Gentiles a door of faith; and St. Paul fkitb,

1 Cor.xvi.9. a great and effectual door was opened to him, at Ephefus,

2 Cor.ii. 12. and another atTroas; and he exhorts the Coloffiaro to Col. iv. a. Pray tnat God would open to him Slpav Tou \iyov, a door of

preaching the myjiery of Chriji; where opening a door denotes ministering opportunities and advantages of performing the things specified.) And on the other side, they who keep from knowing the way which leads thither, who dissuade or discourage from entering, who subtract the means or prevent opportunities of doing it,.who interpose obstacles or obstructions of difficulty, danger, or damage, may be said to shut, or exclude; (thus are the Scribes

Matt. «iii.faid to shut the kingdom of heaven;) that is, to hinder men from embracing the doctrine, or submitting to the rule of Christ, by discouraging them from giving attention ar»d credence to what he taught, (which is otherwhere called

Luke*i.52. taking away the key of knowledge;) as also by terrifying them from acknowledgment of the truth they saw and liked, by reproaches, persecutions, and punishments laid on them who did it. Thus may this state be opened and {hut. As also it may so by judicial and authoritative acts; by way of consent and approbation declared, of decision and sentence pronounced; in such manner as we duly fee men admitted into, and debarred from, the state of citizens and freemen, (from enjoying in esteem and effect the capacities and immunities belonging to the members of such or such societies and corporations,) by the consent or dissent, approbation or refusal, decree or sentence, formally signified, of persons empowered to those purposes. Now regarding the nature of that slate whereof we are speaking, as to real ftrrtherance, since respect to God's glory and man's salvation obliges all men to endeavour that men be brought into this slate, the fame being in a special manner incumbent upon the governors and pastors of the Church; therefore this may be conceived one way of opening, or one part of this power; although to (hut by way of real hindrance, in the manner described, cannot properly belong to ttny, duty and charity forbidding really and finally to obstruct entrance into the state of grace; the Scribes and Lawyers being blamed for not suffering men (otherwise willing and disposed) to enter into the kingdom of heaven. As to the other kind of opening and (hutting, by legal proceeding; as all persons, according to charitable estimation, worthy and well qualified, ought to be admitted thereinto; so neither, according to the reason of the thing itself, nor in regard to the public benefit, nor respecting the good of the persons pretending thereto, should some be permitted to enjoy the communion thereof: therefore to distinguish and separate such persons, the appointment and use of such a power is requisite. This will appear more plainly when we come to consider the necessity and utility of this power. Farther, 3dly. For the phrases equivalent, by which in places of the Gospel most parallel this power is expressed and explained, they are especially those of binding and loosing, of retaining and remitting sins. As for binding and loosing; when our Saviour had promised to bestow upon St. Peter the. keys of the kingdom of heaven, he signifies what effect the use of them should produce, by adding conjunctively, And whatever thoujhalt bind on earlkJkall'Mut. xvi. he bound in heaven; and what thou Jhult loose upon earth JhaUhe loosed in heaven.


Now binding may signify any kind of determination, of restraint, of detention upon persons or things; and loosing, that which is opposite thereto, the leaving indifferent, laying open, setting free of any person or thing respectively. He that (having good authority to do so) enjoins or prohibits any thing, doth bind that thing, (determining its

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